Florida Unemployment Balloons As State Fails To Act
The state of Florida is still the worst state to file a claim for unemployment insurance.
Last year, Ambient Reads covered the issues plaguing unemployment which persisted after the outdated system couldn’t handle the influx of new and returning unemployment applicants. While it’s understandable the influx and overload on servers was too much for servers and employees in any state to handle — its theorized that the system’s User Interface (UI) was purposely designed to return errors and generally frustrate claimants in a process which became exacerbated network and timeout issues. I worked there and I was specifically told not to mention that the system had any such errors.
No benefits available yet
The Department of Economic Opportunity announced the Continued Assistance Act would be available for PEUC applicants who exhausted their [state] benefits.
However, many applicants have said this option is not available to them. It’s been an ongoing situation and mirrors benefits being unavailable for weeks for Floridians.
The state’s recommendations
The state has made the same recommendations as before: make sure your information is up-to-date; log-in every 48 hours to access any action if you have to take into your account; and don’t re-apply if you’ve already filed a claim.
As mentioned before, I worked for the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), but they keep their technical process secret for security reasons.
While claimants can call in, there’s little-to-nothing call center employees can do. The state essentially hired dozens of contract workers to quell the complaints, anger, and demands from claimants as the DEO scrambled to fix internal issues.
What you can do
Don’t depend on receiving any benefits from the state any time soon or contacting anyone with information specific to when you’ll be paid out. Only call if you have eligibility issues, missing documents, issues registering, etc. If you can work, keep looking for work. Try gig work and try to budget your money as tightly as possible and explore government assistant programs.
There are rumors the state won’t start distributing benefits for another 4 weeks for at least 27 percent of claimants (including new claimants), but I haven’t been able to independently verify this. With the government still in negotiations for a stimulus check, too, there’s going to be a lot of uncertainty in the next several weeks.